Consumer shifts in how and where people buy products evolved significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating new opportunities for retailers to use new channels, fulfilment strategies and payment options, according to the results of a new survey out today from BigCommerce and PayPal.
While a majority of the 3,000 consumers surveyed from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia said they still prefer in-person shopping, 62.5 per cent of respondents reported doing most of their purchasing online. Close to half said they’re discovering new products on social media at least once a month, and 66.7 per cent of respondents said they’ve made a purchase directly through their phone at least once in the past month.
The findings highlight a growing need for retailers to invest in an omnichannel sales and marketing strategy that provides convenient and consistent shopping experiences in-store, online and on social media.
As customers continue to move away from brick-and-mortar stores to digital commerce and increasingly use their phones to make purchases, an omnichannel strategy opens up the opportunity for retailers to reevaluate their sales and marketing strategies to ensure they’re meeting customers where they are the most likely to spend.
“For years, we’ve seen ecommerce continue to gain ground on traditional shopping. Online and digitised experiences have required retailers to quickly adapt to changing consumer shopping behaviours, and this was expedited in the pandemic,” said Greg Lisiewski, Vice President of Global Pay Later Products at PayPal. “Now more than ever, consumers want to be in control of how they pay, and they have a desire for friction-free, seamless digital shopping experiences regardless of which channel they are shopping in.”
How people pay for purchases is also changing. More consumers are using digital wallets both in-store and online. Prior to March 2020, digital wallets were the preferred payment option for 28.3 per cent of online shoppers globally, but that jumped to 35.2 per cent after March 2020. The increase for using digital wallets in-store was even greater, going from 12.1 per cent to 22.8 per cent.
“The data tells us that 70 per cent of consumers are more likely to spend more at a retailer that offers their preferred payment method,” said Mark Rosales, Vice President of Business Development, Payments/Banking/Fintech at BigCommerce. “By leveraging this behavioural data, merchants have better means and ability to implement the payment options their customers prefer, ultimately enabling those brands to realise significant sales growth.”
Other key findings:
While 95.2 per cent of respondents reported making at least one online purchase since March 2020, a slight majority across all regions reported a preference for in-person shopping. Despite that, 32.6 per cent of U.S. respondents, 29.9 per cent of UK respondents and 29.7 per cent of Australian respondents said the convenience of online shopping still trumps any drawbacks, and new options like buying online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) are making it even more attractive.
As a preferred way to buy, BOPIS has grown substantially since March 2020, with a 373 per cent increase in the U.S., where BOPIS has been slower to catch on compared to other countries.
The use of digital wallets rose in popularity during the pandemic with a global increase of 24.5 per cent online and 88.7 per cent for in-store purchases since March 2020. Respondents overwhelmingly commented that they’d prefer retailers make digital payment options more available.
Mid-market merchants are increasingly adopting buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions for their ecommerce stores with Australia leading the way. Forty-eight per cent of Australian merchants, 20 per cent of U.S. merchants and 11 per cent of UK merchants currently offer BNPL options to customers.
- Consumers seem to fall into two main categories when it comes to using these types of solutions: power users and slow adopters. Globally, 46 per cent say they’ve used a BNPL option at least once in the past three months. However, just 10.1 per cent globally say they’ve used it five or more times in that same time period. In Australia, that number jumps to 15.5 per cent. Fifty-four per cent of global respondents — and 60.6 per cent of U.S. respondents — have never used BNPL. Most said they were deterred by incurring fees or debt, or that they simply were not familiar with the option.
- Merchants would be wise to educate consumers on the benefits of buy now, pay later solutions, especially interest-free payment options. Young consumers especially are now accustomed to subscription-based payment models. BNPL financing options fall into this same category.
- Consumers are shopping mainly at large retailers or branded ecommerce stores. Of those polled, 58.2 per cent said they shop at department stores, hypermarkets or big-box retailers, while 31.9 per cent said they purchase directly from the ecommerce stores of their favourite name brands.
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